Large energy users in Northern Ireland have been advised to prepare for the significant impact that Brexit and the upcoming changes to the electricity market in May 2018 may have on their businesses.
A recent seminar hosted by Vayu Energy titled ‘The Implications of Brexit and the changes to the Electricity Market through the introduction of I-SEM’, which was held at Ranfurly House, Dungannon discussed what it will mean for Northern Ireland.
The event focused on the changes to the Single Electricity Market (SEM), the wholesale electricity market for the island of Ireland. Currently, the SEM committee (SEMC) is the decision making authority for the market, made up of representatives from the Utility Regulator, the Commission for Energy Regulation and a number of independent members.
Legislation is being implemented that will see the coming together of electricity markets across Europe which has been designed to harmonise cross border trading arrangements. The new wholesale market will be known as the Integrated Single Electricity Market (I-SEM) for the island of Ireland.
Delegates heard from an experienced panel comprising Dr Viviane Gravey, lecturer in European Politics at Queen’s University Belfast; Nick Fullerton, director of SONI Limited; Stephen Kelly, CEO of Manufacturing NI and Stephen Behan, senior business development manager at Vayu Energy.
Stephen Behan, representing Vayu Energy, said: “This seminar was about letting people know the opportunities that will be coming with I-SEM and the changes large energy users need to start considering in order to take advantage of these.
“Minimising energy costs and achieving greater efficiencies are becoming more and more important for Northern Irish businesses. This is having a direct impact on the way companies source their energy, with an increasing trend among larger users to procure energy directly from the wholesale market, rather than often expensive fixed price tariffs. At Vayu Energy, we work with our customers to develop an energy strategy that will provide best value for them.”
Stephen Kelly of Manufacturing NI, a campaigning organisation which works with member companies, workforce representatives, policymakers and regulators to challenge and encourage change in areas which impact on the cost of doing business, said:
“Brexit has presented many challenges for our members and our priority now is to ensure that negotiations don’t add additional costs through customs or market access red tape. A border on or between these islands and the risk of tariffs will be detrimental to Northern Irish businesses hoping to export and import products.